Points Ruling Human Lives

Sinziana Stanciu, 20’

The greater fears of George Orwell’s groundbreaking novel 1984 become more and more of a reality every single day around the world. In an almost dystopian approach to government, the Chinese officials are pushing their power to unprecedented lengths causing international concern. Announced in 2014, now in almost full effect, the new Chinese Social Credit System enforces the strict rule of their communist regime through the constant watch of citizens. This system threatens any agency that a person may feel, as they succumb to the pressure in order to maintain points.

Officially called the “Social Credit System” people in China are evaluated by their every action which leads to the number of points that they accumulate. Their actions can result in influencing others as well, not only themselves. For example, if you have been deemed a bad citizen a repercussion could be the loss of a job opportunity or the lack of a good education for your children. There are other consequences as well, such as not being able to access public transportation, public shaming, and even the inability to stay at certain hotels (Business Insider). This result of the overreaching of government is not only frightening but it brings into question the root of this action. The chinese government claims that is to establish trust amongst its citizens, but I believe it is about something deeper (Wired). The ability of a government to watch all of their population, all of the time, and reward them or reprimand them based on their actions is one of the results of the technology that we have today. In most first world countries, it is known that the governments have a hand in tracking people that they feel are threats towards society, however, that does not mean that the regular citizesn who occasionally jaywalks is penalized for their inability to follow the vague laws. China’s initiative has pushed the envelope too far, in a thinly veiled attempt to regulate their society. How can I establish trust in another person when I know that all of their actions are actually embedded in their own self-interest because of the government’s imposition?

It is entirely possible that the Chinese government did have the best interest of the well being of every citizen at heart, but people do not like being controlled, further, they do not like having to be oppressed. The lack of flexibility that this system holds results in the lack of flexibility as a country. People are not perfect, and attempting to fit every single person in a box will not be of benefit, as the population will stop thinking for itself and constantly search for another set of rules that they are supposed to follow. Since these rules come in response to the recent uptick in crimes against Chinese citizens and the government plays a role in establishing trust amongst citizens, wide sweeping actions are expected (Washington Post). However, is it justifiable to invade the privacy of every single citizen of your country on a basis of creating trust amongst each other? I don’t think so, because ultimately, this trust has its a basis in one thing, the expectation that all people are more self-involved than anything else. Is it reasonable to expect that a community can be built on the reliance of everyone putting themselves first?